THE IMPACT OF A PHARMACY EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM ON MEDICATION ERRO
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PURPOSE: Studies have shown a positive correlation between employee engagement and performance. However, these studies are primarily focused on medical staff and nursing performance. There is limited data on the effects of employee engagement among pharmacy staff. The objective of this study is to engage inpatient dispensing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in the prevention of medication errors by implementing a multifaceted employee engagement program and assess its impact on the quantity of externally reported medication- related errors. METHODS: This study is a pre/post comparison of externally reported medication-related error rates after implementation of an employee engagement program. The employee engagement program was piloted for a period of three months, from December 2019 through February 2020. The employee engagement program was comprised of several different initiatives. Medication error reports were collected from August 2019 until February 2020, a period of three months before and after implementation. The reports were categorized into three categories: delivery errors and/or delays, medication mis-fills, and medication labeling errors. Data collected from the reports included medication involved, event date, event category/type, event description, and pharmacy manager responsible for event follow-up. The event reporter category, whether internal or external from the pharmacy department, was also collected. Internal reports were excluded to prevent potential bias. Reports related to parenteral nutrition orders and chemotherapy orders were excluded. Employee engagement was assessed using the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement survey administered to staff before and after the implementation of the program. RESULTS: In the pre-implementation period, there was a total of 89 medication-related error events reported. The most common reported error was in delivery errors/delays (48.3%). During the post-implementation period, a total of 84 medication-related errors were reported. The most common reported error post-implementation was in medication mis-fills (44%). There was a total of 51 responses from the online survey pre-implementation and 76 responses from post- implementation, resulting an increase of 49%. The individual responses from the survey were not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: Although a significant decrease in medication errors was not observed, the recommendation is to continue this employee engagement program. There was no statistically significant increase from the survey results, however it is recommended that an annual survey is deployed to continue to assess engagement. Employing methods of engagement is one way to ensure the team remains motivated and committed to the department’s mission and vision, giving meaning to their role and responsibilities and ultimately improving their performance, leading to a decrease in medication errors.